Criminal Law Questions? Ask a Criminal Lawyer.
Hello - Thank you for contacting JustAnswer. My name is Michael; I look forward to helping you with your criminal problem today.
You have been charged with misdemeanor theft or "shoplifting". The maximum penalty for something like this would be around 1 year in uail, restitution, and a fine and court costs. However, if this is your first offense, you'll most likely be given probation and will not have to do any jail time. You can talk to the prosecutor about your history and he/she should be able to help you out with getting this taken care of with minimal punishment.
where/how can i talk to the prosecutor
You would speak to them when you go for your court date.
how do i know who my prosecutor is?
also, if would it be possible to change the court date?
You will know. They will be the person at the court who is in charge of the case. You can ask for a continuance but the court does not have to grant it.
what is a continuance?
Asking for the court date to happen at a later time.
i was hoping for an earlier time
No, you won't be able to make it earlier.
okay, and what do i do when i go into court?
You would go and plead guilty to the shoplifting and ask the prosecutor in return for your guilty plea, since it was your first offense, to give you probation and a fine.
i googled a bit, and it says to plea not guilty to get minimum charges and all, but it also says to not get more court dates to plea guilty
it also said i could say i consent r something like that
There is a lot of information on Google. I'm here to help you with the correct information. If you want to fight the case, you can plead not guilty and have your trial. If you do that, you'll get a harsher sentence if you get found guilty. If you plead guilty, you can most likely work out something where you don't get any jail time.
i know there is, and that's why i'm here trying to get actual information. i really just don't know what to do, and I'm too scared to think straight, i can barely get a hold of myself right now, is it bad if i can't get a hold of myself in court? i know i most likely won't be able to
You need to calm down. This is a run of the mill crime and is something that the State is not going to try to hit you hard on. Trust me - if you want to get this over with and take responsibility for it - you can plead guilty, talk to the prosecutor and get probation.
It's not a big deal and you will be able to handle it fine.
would this ever get off my record?
You could have it expunged possibly sometime down the line, but it depends on the State you are in. Some states won't allow you to expunge a crime unless you have entered into a diversion program, which basically means that you were not found guilty of the crime. You can ask the Prosecutor about any diversion programs for first time offenders and see if that is an option.
will i be talking to the prosecutor in front of the judge or will it just be a private thing?
Most likely he will take you aside.
do you know how long it could possibly take?
if i plead guilty and no other issues come up
It would take place on the day of your hearing.
hour wise what is the average time it would take?
I would have no idea, that would depend on how many cases are set for the day. Once your case is called, it will only take a couple of minutes to plea and be sentenced.
okay, thank you very much
If I can answer anything further, let me know. Remember, I'm here to help and your satisfaction is guaranteed. If you don't have any questions and you valued my time, I'd ask you to consider rating me positively. Take care,Michael
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